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Move over Branding: The key to success in 2020 is not what you’d expect

It seems like some agents have all the luck. We all know someone that seems to have a pipeline of dream properties and buyers clamoring hand-over-(money-filled) fist to sign themselves into a new home while you sit and watch your listings grow stale. How do these agents do it? While nothing can compare to a well connected network, having a “secret weapon” in your real estate tool kit is the secret of success in 2020.

So what’s the secret? How can you get and keep more listings in 2020? It’s not about completely changing your method or reinventing the wheel, but rather it’s about having something different to offer your clients– something your competition can’t or won’t offer. It’s no secret we live in a global and tech-connected world, but have you thought about how you can merge your real estate business into the digital world? Event marketing is one of the best ways to do this.

What is event marketing?

Similar to a traditional auction, event marketing starts with a property being offered for sale at an attractive opening price. This price appeals to buyers which creates competition and the deadline of an impending auction creates urgency, ultimately resulting in a higher sale price. In this model, the seller retains control of the final sales price and the transparency the process provides helps the seller see the true market value. For agents, this can help overcome objections to price reductions or avoid them altogether. Buyers benefit from being able to determine what their highest/best offer may be.

hands signing a contract 

For Signing New Listings: Bring something new to the table

Between working on your “personal brand” via social media and networking or making sure that your advertising fit your “brand image”, 2017 was the year of “branding”. Designed to make you stand out from your competition, branding is great for marketing, but results are what really pay off. To extend your listings or to sign new ones in 2020, you’ll need to offer something to clients more results-oriented than industry buzzwords. Offering a solution or tactic that your competition does not will be the key to getting ahead this year.

RealtyHive Tip: Make a list of all the services you offer clients and potential clients. Everything from creating a BPO to the individual marketing channels you use for your properties. Now go through that list and cross out anything that your competition can do as well. If the remaining items are pretty thin, consider partnering with RealtyHive to have a true “differentiator” in your back pocket.

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For Selling Your Listings: Show up and be successful

Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” While he probably wasn’t talking about online property listings, he could have been! According to the National Association of Realtors, 51% of home buyers found the home they purchased online, but the average NAR member reports that their website only brings in 1% of their business. In a sea of online noise, do your listings stand out or do they just show up like everyone else’s? With the market as strong as it has been you should be selling upwards of 90% of the properties you list–the key is to position those listings for success and having a strong online presence is the way to do that.

RealtyHive Tip: Do you know what your website traffic looks like? What about your search rankings? Where is the traffic coming from? Are they real buyers or junk bot traffic? If your online traffic isn’t where you want it to be, you might consider joining the RealtyHive marketplace to create additional exposure and make all your listings have a unique marketing presence whether or not you utilize the event marketing platform.

handshake business deal 

For Untapped Success: Branch into new markets

With housing prices up, inventory down, and demand through the roof it’s fair to say that parts of the housing market are on fire! However, for every can-barely-get-it-listed-before-accepted-offer there’s a stuck-on-the-market-for-years property. From land to luxury, FSBO to commercial, every market has its own hard-to-sell niche. While most agents will run from this segment, you can stand out by confronting these challenges and land the listing by offering a new, exclusive solution.

RealtyHive Tip: Look at your market to discover where a need isn’t being met. Has a local department store sat vacant for years or has the same plot of land set vacant for as long as you can remember? These are indicators that tradition processes haven’t worked and you can use the RealtyHive Event Marketing platform as a never-tried-before solution to help land these listings.

Want to learn more about how event marketing can take your business to the next level in 2020? Check out www.realtyhivemarketing.com for more information or to schedule a meeting with a RealytHive representative. In less than 20 minutes you’ll learn how RealtyHive’s event marketing platform can help your listings reach a global audience, extend your listings and avoid price reductions–all at no cost to you!

house with a for sale sign in front

Real Estate 101: The Basics for the First Time Home Seller

1. The Price is Right (or it needs to be!)

Have you ever fallen in love with an item in the store, but when you saw the price tag decided it wasn’t worth the cost? Maybe you decided to just wait until there’s a sale, figuring that the price would come down before the item sells out. If you’re selling your home, this is exactly what you don’t want to do. Getting the price of your home right can be one of the most difficult parts of the home selling process. Especially in a “hot” market like we’re experiencing now. If you price it too high, it’s going to take time to sell, but if you price is too low, you’re leaving money on the table.

One option would be to work with a real estate agent. Real estate agents have access to tons of information about previous home sales. For example: they can tell you about another home that was built in the same year, with the same number of beds and baths, with the same size lot just sold for $152,000 in 3 days! This info helps them suggest a proper price. While some people shy away from using an agent in the sale of their home, usually being deterred by the commission, a real estate agent can help you sell your home for a higher price, leaving you with more money–even after figuring in their commission.

Tip: If you’re not planning to use an agent, make sure you do your homework. Your first step will be to get a home appraisal. This will give you a good frame to start your pricing on. You’ll also want to check sites like Zillow or Redfin. You can see the estimated value of your home on these sites, but they can be off by tens of thousands of dollars. So, the best use for these sites is to research homes similar to yours. Not only can you see how much homes like yours are listed for, but also how long they’ve been on the market. Additionally, you can see the sale history. This research will ensure that you’re getting pricing where it needs to be.
 
interior of a living room
 

2. Prepare to be Seen

Before you stick the sign out in the yard or list your property online, you’ll want to make sure your home is ready to be seen. If you’ve already moved into another home, this will just be a deep clean of the home for sale. If you’re still living in this home, you’ll want to make sure it is picked up and ready to show at anytime. Staging the home by adding extra decorations or “homey” touches is great, but clutter-free and clean are the minimum.

Tip: If you’ve got the time and budget, it’s a good idea to throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls–especially if that hasn’t been done in a few years. Most advisers will tell you to not spend money on renovations before you move. However, a fresh coat of neutral paint is known help entice buyers and get you a great return on investment.
 
home with sale sign in yard
 

3. Get the Word Out

There’s a reason that real estate agents always put signs in the yard of the homes they’re selling–they work! Prepare yourself for it to work really fast as well, depending on your market. If you’re in a city or larger town and have a home in the low to middle-high price range, it’s very possible that as soon as you put the sign up, you’ll have people calling and knocking on your door. Make sure you’re prepared to take the next steps as soon as that sign hits the ground.

Tip: Not everyone lives in an area with a booming real estate market. For example, you may live in a rural area and you don’t see a lot of drive-by traffic. If this is the case, you’re going to need another tactic to sell your home. There are many websites that will list your home for free. However, because these are free listings, you may just blend in to the rest of the listings on the site. Another option to consider is an advanced marketing option like event marketing. Using an online event marketing platform, your home will stand out because of the interest gained through range pricing. Think of an opening bid and “Buy It Now” pricing – you’ll gain interest from those searching the lower price ranges and interest from those who want to jump on a deal right away. But, you still retain control of the final sale price. You can learn more about how this works here.
 
women at a business meeting
 

4. Understand the Players

If you’re handling the sale of your home without the help of an agent, it will be up to you to coordinate showings. Most buyers will not want to purchase the home sight-unseen, so expect to let potential buyers in for a look. In many cases, this includes buyers who are working with an agent. It may be uncomfortable for you to allow strangers to roam your house. However, this is how buyers fall in love with a property.

Tip: If you’re working with a seller directly, it’s a good idea to stay on premises, but if they have an agent the best thing to do is leave. The buyer’s agent will facilitate the showing (after all, they want their client to find a home), and it stops you from talking the buyer out of a sale.
 
accounting spreadsheet and calculator
 

5. Know the rules

This part gets a bit trickier for home selling DIY-ers. The laws concerning real estate vary by state.  There are laws as to what the necessary inspections are, the time frame for everything to be completed and what needs to be disclosed to the new buyers. In some states you need to tell potential buyers if there was a death in the home, in other states you are required report on your annoying neighbors, and the list goes on. In short, know the rules or risk getting sued.

Tip: Even if you choose to not use a real estate professional in your home selling, that doesn’t mean you should completely go this process alone. Selling real estate comes with many financial, legal, and tax implications so it’s best to consult a lawyer and an accountant with real estate expertise that can help ensure you have the proper documents and don’t wind up with any costly surprises down the road.

Selling your home is a very exciting process. It can lead to many positive changes and help set you up for future financial success, but it’s important to consider all the moving parts to make sure your experience is a positive one!

Things Your Real Estate Agent Can’t Tell You

5 things agents can’t tell you (and how to find out yourself)

Using a real estate agent is a great way to avoid many of the headaches (and potential heartaches!) associated with buying or selling a home. As part of their services they can help you appropriately price your home, negotiate on your behalf, and their access to an MLS –an exclusive network of property listings– can help you sell your home or find the right one before the general public ever sees it. But, as licensed professionals, there are some things that your agent can’t tell you.

Not won’t tell you, but legally or ethically, I’m-sorry-but-I-really-cannot-tell-you.

Now that doesn’t mean you’re on your own and just have to hope for the best, though. For that information, you’re going to have to do some of the digging yourself. Here are the 5 surprising things your real estate agent can’t tell you.

“This area is great for young families!”

This one seems so innocent and well-intentioned, but is actually illegal! Maybe you passed a park on the way to the home or noticed the nearby elementary school, but whether you’re looking to live in an area where your kids can roam with the neighbors or you’re trying to avoid children altogether, your agent isn’t allowed to tell you who lives in the area.

Reasoning: Under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, family structure is a protected class meaning a comment like this could dissuade older couples or a single party from the property, making it illegal.

How to find your answers: If driving through the area isn’t an option, Google maps is one of the best tools for doing neighborhood recon. Simply type in the address of the property you’re looking at and check out the area you’re interested in. Are there parks and schools nearby or is it in a more industrial area? Is the area filled with side streets and cul de sacs or is it on one of the main roads? Depending on what you’re looking for you may want to switch your search based on what you see.

“You don’t want to live in that area. That’s where the [nationality, gender, age group] live!”

In addition to not telling you where to live based on the demographics, your agent also cannot tell you not to live somewhere because of the people in the neighborhood.

Reasoning: As mentioned above, the Fair Housing Act prevents any discriminatory statements based on protected classes.

How to find your answers: You can find out more about the general demographics of an area by checking out the US Census Bureau’s website. This tool, with most recent studies being from 2016 can tell you the age, sex, and race of the population down to a zip code level.

“Are you sure you’re interested in that area? It’s pretty high crime.”

While you might think that an agent saying this is just looking out for you, this is another no-no statement. Crime statistics are public information, but because crime rates often lead to conclusions about the racial makeup of an area, your agent is best protected by letting you find your own conclusions.

Reasoning: Race is a protected class under the Fair Housing Act and whether it’s the intention or not, discussing the crime rate of a particular area could lead to assumptions about the racial makeup of that area.

How to find your answers: If finding out about crime in an area is of particular interest to you there are plenty of free sources to look. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) offers a location-based lookup that links the data from public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender websites. To find incident-level crime lookup, you may have to check a couple of website as not every jurisdiction reports to every available site. Here are some good ones to start with: MyNeighborhoodUpdate, CrimeReports, SpotCrime, and NeighborhoodWatchDog. You can also check the website of the local police station as they may provide a link to the crime mapping site they use.

Buying home is an emotional time. It’s a big investment with a lot on the line, but having an agent you trust can make all the difference. Ready to take the leap and connect with a top agent? Check out Cashifyd, a program offered by RealtyHive that connects you with top local agents who offer cash back incentives when you buy or sell your home.

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Event Marketing: A New Tool for the Trade

Read this next sentence and tell me if it sounds familiar. Lately, when you get a listing for a modestly-sized, fairly priced home and before you know it you get SO much interest, you can barely add it to your MLS before you start receiving offers– some even above list price. But when it comes to your commercial listings, vacation homes, or even some residential properties, for whatever reason, some properties just sit. And sit. And sit. Your sellers start to get restless, your listing expiration is coming up, and you’ve already considered a price reduction. What are you to do? Sure, almost everything will sell if you wait long enough, but that’s not the strategy that will make your sellers happy, after all, they’re ready to sell, not wait for some time in the eventual future. This is where event marketing can help.

What is event marketing?

Event marketing is an online auction marketing strategy that helps properties rise above the noise and clutter of traditionally marketed listings and grab the attention of potential buyers. Once an interested buyer becomes aware of the property, a genuine sense of urgency develops due to the auction format. Since there is a specific time and date assigned to obtain this “deal”, buyers have to act. This sense of urgency typically creates a very competitive bidding environment. Whether it’s at the online event or at any time prior to the event. In many cases, properties can sell prior to the event if the potential buyer’s offered “pre-auction” bid entices the seller to remove the property prior to the scheduled online event.

Advantages of Event Marketing for Real Estate

Increased exposure on a global level

It used to be that home buyers usually lived near the area they were buying. With the advent of telecommuting and increased globalization, buyers can come from anywhere in the world these days. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, foreign buyers closed on $135 billion worth of residential US real estate between April 2016 and March 2017. This is why online marketing is so important. Sure, a potential buyer could find your listing from your local MLS’s website, but why leave it to that? Using an event marketing platform exposes your property to a global audience, at no cost to you, the agent. Additionally, you can use it to generate more interest (and more offers) on your listing from all over the world.

Alternative to Price Reduction

One of the hardest subjects to tackle with your sellers has got to be the price reduction talk. Your sellers are emotionally and financially invested in their home. For this reason, it can be hard to convince them that it is not worth the price they’d like to ask for it–especially if they’re looking to sell quickly. While having hard facts can help with this discussion, for example talking them through what similar homes in their area have recently sold for, it doesn’t always go well.

Using an event marketing platform allows homes to have a lower suggested opening bid than current list price to attract more buyers. Yet, it allows the sellers to remain in control of the actual sale price. For example, a home can be listed at $390,000 with an opening bid of $290,000. If the seller receives a high bid of $350,000 they have the choice to accept the bid and move forward with the sale (after all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush), or reject the bid and start the process again.

The advantage of taking a property to auction in this method is twofold. On one hand a lower opening bid attracts more attention, more attention creates competition, and competition ultimately raises the price. On the other hand, this method can help determine the true value of a property. If a seller is receiving offers that are tens of thousands of dollars less than asking price, they may see the property is overpriced for the current market conditions.

Tool for Listing Extension

One of the most difficult parts of being a real estate agent is having your clients see the value of the service you provide. Sites such as Zillow assist sellers with by owner sales and a hot housing market. This leaves many clients wondering what you are doing that they couldn’t themselves (hint: a lot, but that’s a subject for another day). One of the advantages of event marketing is that it is another tool in your arsenal to extend your listing. You can go to your clients with this new and innovative process to help gain exposure and increase activity for their home. Interested in getting started with event marketing? Whether its commercial buildings or vacant land. Luxury homes or the Caribbean islands. RealtyHive has the experience and tools you need to move your listings through its event marketing platform. Click here to learn more or get started today!